2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report reveals discrimination is a barrier to Alzheimer’s and dementia care

Local News

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — The 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report is out and findings from two national surveys reveal that discrimination is a barrier to Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

The report found more than one-third of Black Americans (36%), and nearly one-fifth of Hispanic Americans (18%) and Asian Americans (19%) believe discrimination would be a barrier to receiving care.

This medical disparity goes beyond Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The surveys also found half or more of non-White caregivers say they have experienced health care discrimination.

The CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Central New York Chapter, Cathy James, says people of color are already at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age than Caucasians are.

To further address these health care disparities, both the national Alzheimer’s Association and the chapter here in CNY are partnering with community providers who work with populations of color to ensure everyone has access to care without discrimination.

We know that we need to prepare the workforce to care for racially and ethnically diverse populations of older adults. By 2050 about 39% of the older adult population will be non-White Americans.

Cathy James

James says it’s important to address language barriers and make sure training, hiring, and research are all geared toward culturally competent care.

“Working closely with community partners to be able to increase that awareness, increase access to culturally competent healthcare, and making sure that we can lower these risk factors and making sure people are well educated about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” said James.

A Central New York caregiver duo spoke with NewsChannel 9 about their difficulties finding care. They don’t believe their Hispanic heritage was a roadblock, but their finances were.

“I think our biggest issue with everyone not able to help us is that she did not have Medicaid,” said Maritza Barrientos. She’s been a caregiver for her grandmother for two years.

Maritza’s father, Ranier says it has been a stressful and challenging journey. He hopes this report leads to better resources for all caregivers to navigate through such a scary time.

Maritza wants the process caregivers have to go through to find help, to be much clearer and easier.

They should definitely give more resources for people that don’t have Medicaid or have programs, where they have a list of programs of these places, take Medicare, you don’t have to have Medicaid.

Maritza Barrientos

The Barrientos also hope people everywhere will be more patient when they see a family caring for a loved one with a disability.

To read the full 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report click here.

To find resources in Central New York, visit the Alzheimer’s Association CNY Chapter website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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